What is a Community Land Trust?
Community land trusts (CLT's) are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier. For a more detailed definition and explanatory videos, please visit the National Community Land Trust website here.
Why do we need a CLT in Thanet?
For secure, affordable housing, led by local residents
The purpose of Thanet Community Housing is to increase the number of affordable homes available to local people within Thanet. Locally there are the built up areas along the coast between Birchington and Ramsgate and also the area often referred to as the Thanet Villages. It is not our plan to build large numbers of houses on 'greenfield sites' as do many commercial builders. We are seeking to meet the specific needs of the different communities in the area and we are co-operating with and have the support of Thanet District Council to help us identify that need.
What is affordable housing?
Affordable-rent housing is housing priced at a maximum of 80% of the average rents charged by private landlords. For example: If the average rent of a one bedroom private rented flat were £500 per month, an affordable rent for that flat would be £400 per month, or less.
Affordable-sale housing is housing for sale to a Thanet resident, the price of which is based on the average wage in Thanet, giving lower paid people the opportunity to buy their own home. There would be a clause in the sale contract stating that the property could then only be re-sold to another Thanet resident at affordable-sale price. It could not be sold to anyone resident outside Thanet and not to London buyers seeking to move to Thanet or to buy second homes here. This is a longer-term possibility.
What sort of homes will we provide?
This will depend on the specific needs of each community. Throughout Thanet there is a shortage of one bedroom homes. In Margate there is also a shortage of two and three bedroom homes. In Minster there is a need for one bedroom homes for older people plus homes for families. There will be individual needs for each community. Thanet Community Housing also intends to ensure that each home we provide will be of a high energy efficiency standard. We do not want our tenants to have high rents and high heating bills.
How will we do this?
Apart from looking for sites on which to build good quality housing, we are looking for derelict and unused land and property, agricultural buildings, run down housing, houses divided into rooms with shared facilities, disused seaside hotels, for conversion. We would also like to buy former Thanet District Council homes to improve and let at affordable-rent.
Where does the money come from?
It will come from a mixture of grants, loans from ethical lenders such as Nationwide Foundation and share issues. The loans will be like a mortgage, to be paid off over forty years via the rents the tenants pay.
Why are our rents lower than private landlords?
Because Thanet Community Housing is a not-for-profit company registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. It's legal term is a Community Benefit Society. If we do make a profit, by law it has to be invested in the next project.